Friday, August 18, 2017

You're Sure to 'Bee' Excited About These Great Clipart Collections

Clipart image of a bee carrying a pot of honey
Sometimes it takes a simple approach to remind us of important things.  Take for example the 2007 animated film Bee Movie, where, in a cute and colourful way, attention was drawn to the value of nature's most industrious insect.

We know we can thank bees for honey. We know they can deliver a nasty sting when we get in their way. But we don't necessarily think about everything that they do. Bees are responsible, after all,  for pollinating crops, fruits, vegetables and flowers.  Their loss would threaten the food we eat and the beauty around us.

Sadly, bee colonies haven't been doing all that well in recent years.  Back as far as 2007, concerns were expressed about the fact that honeybee colonies were dying at an alarming rate and there appeared to be no simple answer.  According to researchers, who determined  there was more than one factor at play here, the issue was complex. They ultimately attributed the majority of the losses to parasites, disease, nutrition and pesticide exposure. 

Information released by BeeInformed.org reported in 2015-16 that beekeepers across the United States lost 44 per cent of their honeybee colonies from April to April.  Losses continued for the same timeframe this year.   Phys.Org reported a lost of 33 per cent.  Though the lower number is encouraging, experts were quick to add that the number is still too high. However there is now a glimmer of optimism.

Given that these little insects play a significant role in maintaining Earth as we know it, we obviously want colonies to survive. And the news from Canada appears to be heartening too.  The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists reported that for 2015-16 the national percentage of colony winter loss was 16.8 per cent, the third lowest since 2006/07.  Beekeepers have been able to replace dead colonies and the number of colonies has increased by 22.4 percent.

So, if it seems that the worst might be behind us, that the fear that bee colonies everywhere are falling faster than a hummingbird's wings is now behind us, you might wonder what prompted this chatter from me.  The thing is, like many people,  I can have a tendency to take things for granted. When I first heard about this concern,  it was troubling. Over time, however, the idealist in me trusted that experts would get it figured out and the worry would be behind us. Bees once again just became another insect.

But after happening upon this information during a search for something completely unrelated, I decided it was time again to give these helpful, though occasionally prickly, friends of ours their due. It was surprising once I made that decision how often they came to mind.

From the minute the day began when I looked over to see my husband add his dollop of honey into his coffee I was reminded about the things in my life for which I can thank the humble bee.  It was there once more while the two of us were enjoying said coffees on the deck and my attention was diverted by a bee settling on a nearby coneflower, hanging out there for a time before droning on to a shasta daisy.

Later that afternoon as we headed out for a bit of socializing,  I gazed out the car window at fields of crops and thought again of the tiny creature that played a role in the success of agriculture's bounty.


Even as the day came to an end and I prepared for bed, my mind returned to the value of bees as I slathered on my homemade lotion, concocted of oils and beeswax.

The bottom line here is that play a far greater role in our lives than we often reflect upon. So for today, we will promote the humble bee and its environmental contributions with some super clipart collections.

iCLIPART.com Bee Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Bee Images

Clipart.com Bee Images

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It's Almost Time for Back to School. See Shiny, Happy Student Faces from iPHOTOS.com

Photo of a happy little girl wearing a backpack for back to school
"All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think." — Ken Robinson

The 'S' word has been finding its way into conversations increasingly of late. First there was the discussion with our daughter regarding the near-future plans she and her family have in place. Listing those leisure activities,  brought the realization of how soon back-to-school time was going to be here. An educator in a Junior Kindergarten classroom, she declared, with no little amount of shock,  that in just a few weeks she would be "back to reality".

Our son, who is currently vacationing at our summer spot, remarked this past weekend that he might not stay in this place of respite for the whole week. A teacher, he noted that it's just about time to start planning for the upcoming term, then commented that his brain might not give him the calm he needs to enjoy too much of a sojourn at this point in the summer.  He knows his obsessive qualities would preclude any ability to relax so assumed he'd probably cut the idyll short in favour of beginning the work he knows is ahead of him.

Social conversations are also moving in the direction of back to school.  At parties and picnics, friends with kids in university and college are talking about tuition and lodging; others with post-secondary students in their family are pondering course selections that will enhance future goals and dreams.

Photo of a young man with a laptop in a library
At Vital Imagery Ltd. we are hearing often  from teachers like my son, who are already in work mode and looking for the right resources for their lesson plans and assignments. The needs vary, but the message remains unchanged.  It's time to get back in the education game,  to ease summer out of play and get down to business.

Obviously, there's still plenty of time left to relax before the real work begins. There are weeks left in which families can sneak away on vacations and focus on nothing more than sand, surf and campfires.  There are oodles of long, lazy days ahead to be whiled away at the beach;  evenings still offer sufficient balminess to inspire outdoor games into the late hours.

However, the signs that youngsters will soon be heading back to academia are there if we care to notice.  Baseball diamonds have quieted with most little league teams all played out. Soccer fields are silent with tournaments over and the season's winners decided.  Even the excited hoots and hollers from energetic youngsters in the swim at area pools have diminished as the heat of summer fades.

Soon, the same boisterous, high-spirited sounds will be coming from school playgrounds during recess and lunch breaks. Hallways will welcome back the sounds  of exuberant youngsters returning from their extended layoff.  Classrooms will again be enlivened by the energy of youths at work and in discussion.  Gymnasiums will fill with shouts and laughter. And teachers and administrators will again be challenged with the responsibility of nurturing supple young minds.

University and college campuses will come to life, too, as adults, young and old,  return for that final lap in their academic ride.

So as we think about saying goodbye to our 'unofficial' summer, and hello to back to school, this collection of pictures from iPHOTOS.com shows eager students of all ages.

iPHOTOS.com Student Photos